How I stay healthy - Nuala Carey, RTÉ presenter
'I think running keeps your body young and supple. Even your skin is more radiant'
For years, Nuala Carey was a dedicated and regular walker. "I kind of noticed five years ago that friends of mine had started running," she recalls. "I told one, 'I don't think I'm a runner,' and she replied, 'Well, Nuala, that's just mind over matter.' It really stuck with me. And if you want to be more concentrated with your workout, time-wise a run is much more efficient."
Determined to try running out for size, Nuala set herself a goal: to be able to run the length of the Dún Laoghaire West Pier and back without stopping.
"After a few weeks, I achieved that goal and when you do that, then you want to push yourself," she explains. "It took a while for the love of it to kick in, but I really enjoy it now. I won't be doing marathons or anything like that, but most days I manage to run for an hour and I'm happy with that.
"I love the fresh air and, when you look at my job, where I'm presenting the weather or the Lottery, you're in a studio with no natural light and no windows, so getting out in the fresh air is hugely important. I make a point of not bringing my phone - I used to, but I'd get a text or a call, and I'd need to follow it up and couldn't enjoy the run."
The benefits, both mental and physical, haven't gone unnoticed by others: "I met a stylist recently who I saw about six months ago, and she said, 'You're looking great. What are you doing? I can really see it in your body.' I think running keeps your body young and supple - I take glucosamine supplements anyway, which is good for joints - but even your skin can be radiant after a run."
Even the cold winter months didn't take Nuala off course from her running regime: "I wouldn't be out in Storm Ophelia or anything, but I think the cold can actually spur you. I don't find it that hard in winter, mainly because there's a lovely light in winter and you don't really feel the cold."
Nuala takes full advantage of Dublin's abundance of gorgeous parks on her three weekly runs. "I love Herbert Park, Marlay Park and Cabinteely Park," she enthuses. "Because a lot of the time I go the same route, it really helps to go somewhere different. I set another goal, to see if I could run from the Castleknock Gate end of the Phoenix Park to the Conyngham Road end. I ticked that one off. There's a great sense of personal achievement there."
Nuala admits that while many of her friends like to run together, using each other as a motivational force, she prefers being a lone runner. "My friends say, 'If you have someone else there, we know we won't back out of the run,' but the good thing is I don't ever tend to back out on myself. It never feels like a chore. In fact, I look forward to it now. I'd say to people: you'll eventually love it. It's free, too - everything in the country is taxed, but fresh air isn't."